99 Things Money Can’t Buy – The Good Trade


There’s a phrase I loved as a teenager. I was so moved by it that I promptly made it my phone background and shared it with anyone who would listen. It became a constant refrain. “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”

My parents still bring up that phrase today, mostly in jest since I’m now in the personal finance space (the irony!). But the quote still rings true. In my work, I’ve encountered millionaires who struggle with some of the most fundamental aspects of humanity, from trying to stay healthy to maintaining loving relationships with their families to finding their true purpose.

The most valuable parts of life? Well, they’re invaluable. Here are 99 experiences, feelings, or memories I’ve found that money can’t buy — please share your own in the comments!

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1. The serenity of a quiet, still winter morning.

2. Infectious giggles and smiles from a baby — whether your own or a stranger’s.

3. Valuable friendships that last, regardless of time or distance.

4. Your health. Even the world’s richest folks can’t escape illness.

5. The feeling of falling in love for the very first time.

“A house is not a home. You can buy one, but you can’t manufacture the other.”

6. Cuddles from furry friends. Is there anything more calming than snuggling a sleeping kitty?

7. What feels like home. As they say, a house is not a home. You can buy one, but you can’t manufacture the other.

8. Volunteering your time or skill sets in order to make a difference.

9. A warm hug from the people you love most.

10. Recalling your favorite childhood memories, and the nostalgia associated with them.

11. The importance of humility and staying true to yourself.

12. Your family’s heirlooms — the most timeless, sentimental pieces that cannot be replaced or replicated.

13. The power of meditation. The ability to relax, breathe deeply, and re-ground yourself is invaluable.

14. The respect of others, but more importantly, respect for yourself.

“Extending kindness is always free.”

15. Kindness — extending kindness is always free.

16. Enjoying the perfect weather, whatever that means for you. A bright sunny sky without clouds, the slow drizzle of rain, or a winter wonderland coated with the fresh powder of snow.

17. The chance to laugh. In small fits or uncontrollably.

18. The traits, experiences, and genetics your ancestors have passed to you, generation over generation. 

19. Your baby’s firsts — first word, first step, first holidays.

“The making of new traditions, and the preservation of old ones.”

20. The making of new traditions, and the preservation of old ones.

21. Unconditional love, in all its forms.

22. The memories of your favorite meal, and how the aromas and tastes enriched your senses.

23. How you feel hearing music from your youth — angsty, joyful, emotional, a combination of all three.

24. The beauty of landscapes: Scenic beaches, rolling hills, towering skyscrapers.

25. The power of an apology.

“Silence, especially when you need it most.”

26. Silence, especially when you need it most.

27. The dynamic bonds between siblings, cousins, or best friends.

28. The first brisk night after a sweltering summer.

29. When you find something you thought had been lost or gone forever, like a sentimental photo or a renewed friendship.

“The first brisk night after a sweltering summer.”

30. Hope. Optimism that things can, and will, get better.

31. The intoxicating scent of your favorite flowers or fruits. (There’s something to that phrase, “Stop to smell the roses,” after all.)

32. Watching and appreciating fall’s foliage, as the leaves turn to vibrant shades of orange and red.

33. The most stunning sunrise (or sunset) you’ve witnessed.

34. The pride you feel hearing a sincere compliment.

35. Mental health and stability, beyond just physical wellness.

“The aftermath of a restorative sleep.”

36. The aftermath of a restorative sleep or nap; feeling energized and engaged anew.

37. Lucky coincidences — or, as some would say, fate.

38. Seeing someone you’ve missed for the first time, after a long time.

39. Comforting physical touch, like stroking someone else’s hair, holding their hand, or receiving a gentle massage.

40. Finding your true purpose on this planet.

41. Raw talent — can you think of three gifts you’ve been born with?

“When you have a chance to make things right, to rectify wrongdoing.”

42. When you have a chance to make things right, to rectify wrongdoing.

43. The gift of perspective, especially after a certain amount of time, a particular conversation, or lived experience.

44. The boost of confidence you feel after succeeding or overcoming a big challenge.

45. Loyalty and all the closeness that comes with it.

46. Unlocking a sense of passion, like for a particular person, kind of work, or interest.

47. The perpetual ebbs and flows of waves, a reminder that not everything can be in our control.

48. Honesty from a trusted friend, one who understands your potential vulnerabilities and sees you for who you are.

“The perpetual ebbs and flows of waves, a reminder that not everything can be in our control.”

49. The comfort of a lazy Sunday.

50. Delighting in a true surprise — loved ones calling with exciting news, an unexpected opportunity, or even surprising yourself by your courage or strength.

51. The chance to wake up every morning, with all your faculties intact.

52. Gazing at a sky full of stars (and maybe even witnessing a lucky comet).

53. A challenging, hard talk — one that unearths insights you never knew about yourself.

54. The triumph of winning a prize, contest, or promotion.

55. Your curiosity — the chance to acquire new knowledge whether through lived experience, free classes, or library books.

56. The joy of someone happy to see you; maybe that’s your future spouse as they walk down the aisle or your grandparent’s eyes lighting up as they open their front door.

57. The wind blowing through your hair; the exhilaration and the freedom.

“The present; living in the moment.”

58. Showing the world who you really are and proudly standing in your authenticity.

59. The present; living in the moment.

60. The anticipation of special milestones, big and small — your first adult Christmas Eve with new traditions, a 50th birthday you never expected to experience, or your first pet coming home.

61. Hearing “I love you,” “Trust me,” or “I’m here for you”…and knowing the statement is true.

62. Empowering yourself to walk away from toxic relationships or things that no longer serve you.

63. Integrity — doing the right thing when no one’s watching.

64. A healthy marriage, full of laughter, consistency, and kindness.

65. The crisp, fresh scent of clean air up in the mountains, or the salty breeze near the beach.

66. True healing.

“Lessons learned from all the trials and tribulations you’ve overcome.”

67. The chance to dance and sing; to feel alive amidst the power of music.

68. Lessons learned from all the trials and tribulations you’ve overcome.

69. The secret joy of an inside joke or shared secret.

70. Receiving a homemade gift you know was made with you in mind.

71. Second chances, or the opportunity to choose differently.

72. The presence of the person you feel safest around; the familiar sound of them turning the door when they arrive home.

73. Reminders of how far you’ve come and the growth you’ve experienced along the way.

“Reminders of how far you’ve come and the growth you’ve experienced along the way.”

74. Freedom from regret — or conversely — the beauty of gratitude.

75. The gift of forgiveness.

76. Practicing your spirituality, or exploring a new approach.

77. Attentive listening; there is so much beauty in holding space for another.

78. Knowing something may be hard and scary, but doing it anyway.

“Knowing something may be hard and scary, but doing it anyway.”

79. Watching someone you’ve taught excel at a new skill — like after you’ve given them a piano lesson, taught them how to ride a bike, or held a two-way conversation in a new-to-them language.

80. An active imagination or creative ideas that could change the world.

81. Stepping outside your comfort zone and succeeding.

82. The comforting sound of rain when everything else needs to be drowned out.

83. Reaching a compromise where both parties feel seen and heard, particularly after a long struggle.

84. The objective truth. 

85. Counting down (by day, hour, or second) to a new year — a fresh slate, as it were.

“The clarity and relief after a good cry.”

86. The clarity and relief after a good cry.

87. Your self-respect or self-worth, though we often assume otherwise.

88. The experience of people-watching; to watch humanity go about its day.

89. Landing your dream job, after years of hard work or a promising work ethic.

“Discipline when working towards a goal, like sobriety or exercise or reading more.”

90. The sensation the first time a snowflake lands on your tongue or sunshine hits your face.

91. A clear conscience, or inner peace from knowing you’ve made ethical, thoughtful decisions.

92. Discipline when working towards a goal, like sobriety or exercise or reading more.

93. Connecting with yourself and finding inner clarity.

94. Watching winter turn to spring. Seeing the first few leaves return to a barren branch.

95. Positive self-talk — do you speak to yourself the way you would your best friend?

96. Tact. Knowing exactly what to do in a certain situation is a skill that cannot be bought.

97. Growing old(er) with the people you love most by your side.

98. Feeling fresh grass on the soles of your feet; the literal experience of being grounded.

99. More time.


Henah Velez (she/her) is the Executive Producer at Money with Katie at Morning Brew, a personal finance brand for women including a chart-topping podcast, blog, and newsletter. She’s also a long-time writer at The Good Trade. Henah holds a Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship and is a proud Rutgers grad. Originally from NJ, Henah’s now in Atlanta where she loves shopping small, hanging with her pets, or traveling. Say hi on Instagram!